The pandemic showed us how fragile our systems are and how well all the "gear-wheels" must fit into each other to keep business and private lives in place.
Even for the elderly who can look back 40 or 50 years in time, the last two years have been most unusual in every possible regard. Suddenly nothing was the same. The world, one country after the other, was holding its breath due to the pandemic. How that pandemic developed further does not need to be reported here. The media covered that more than sufficiently.
But for the side effects of this world-wide disaster, most people did not see these coming. Suddenly, raw materials such as steel, wood, computer chips and many other supplies were not just much more expensive, but also hard to get at all, as all supply chains became disrupted. Large price increases that would normally trigger weeks of discussions with the supplier two years ago, were not only accepted without any comment but companies would even write a thank-you note that they were "allowed" to receive the products at all. And if the delivery time was four months instead of two days, that was also “okay” and “no problem”.
Many people could not understand why during a partial shutdown of the global economy, such shortages would suddenly occur. Wouldn't it suggest that less material was needed? But container ships got stuck at harbors due to Covid-19 outbreaks and could not clear their goods. On top of this, less was produced due to shutdowns, and big companies would make "panic" purchases of raw materials and suddenly the well-oiled world economy was out-of-rhythm and broke completely apart. The industry realized that the "just-in-time" delivery system to save storage place was a very risky concept; not crisis proofed at all, and the dependence on goods coming from one country only was a potential dead-end. As a result, governments and industries made commitments to themselves and others to undergo restructuring in order to be ready for the next big crisis. However, once the pandemic is over, these plans will probably be soon forgotten.
Nevertheless, whatever one was learning during the last two years might be different for each of us, but it has certainly taught us how fragile our system is and how easy things can get out of control. Humankind is not as strong and perfect as it would like to be. A lesson learnt is that we need to be humbler and accept that many things in Nature are bigger and more powerful than us ...
Andrzej Wojtas (Ph.D.), Chief Editor
of MFN, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org